Mid-century modern is a style of furniture and decor that became popular post World War II. It was pioneered in California, and it borrows heavily from the German Bauhaus style. The interior design elements from 1940 to 1960 emphasised clean lines and quality materials. It is no surprise that this aesthetic has stood the test of time and is trending in 2022. It is comfortable and functional, and most mid-century designs use natural materials.

Unfortunately, as with many trendy aesthetics, “mid-century” has been misused and diluted. The best description of a mid-century design combines the futurism of sleek shapes with traditional, organic materials. You don’t have to sacrifice practicality for style when designing a modern kitchen. In fact, you can have the best of both worlds. There are several mid-century modern kitchen design ideas out there. Here are 7 of those:


Natural light plays into the mid-century aesthetic. Clear the windows of your kitchen of any blockage and let natural light in. Invest in some geometric pendant lamps to serve as the light source for the evenings. The general idea is to look big, airy and uncongested- and sometimes, just cleaning the window panes and allowing sunlight in can lead to that effect. Having bright white walls also helps. If you are remodelling, consider increasing the size of the kitchen windows.

Tile with Style

Tiles are a great way to bring a little bit of mid-century modern style into your kitchen. Mid-century modern kitchen design often featured attractive tile backsplash walls. Look for tiles in unusual shapes, such as hexagons. Tiles with retro patterns are also a great choice. This choice is very practical because tiled walls are easy to clean and maintain. This is also an easy way to add a fun colour to the kitchen. You can use tiles on the floor as well – nothing screams “retro kitchen” more than a chessboard tile pattern on the floor.

Wooden Cabinets

As stainless steel became passé postwar, wood became the mid-century material of choice for kitchen cabinets. Think minimal, flat cabinets with no ornamentation or painting – clean and varnished wooden surfaces. Utilitarian drawers with sections and open shelves with visible wood grain nod to that era. Use light or dark wood depending on your preference, but be sure to invest in good quality, water-resistant wood.

mid-century kitchen designs

Embrace Color

Since the designs chose elementary shapes, the colours of mid-century architecture were bold. Neon-bright orange, yellow and blue were in vogue at the time. Add brightly-coloured equipment or an accent wall with cheerful wallpaper. Or incorporate some colour in-floor or backsplash tiles. Even small accents, such as colourful kitchen towels or a bright set of curtains, will work well. You can see some beautiful colours in HomeLane’s modular kitchen designs.

Accessories from the ‘50s

If you are trying out mid-century modern on a budget, first add small doses of vintage charm. A set of retro storage canisters, a starburst clock on the wall, or vintage-inspired cookware – any of these small additions can add that mid-century touch to your kitchen.

Add a Bar

Mixology really took off in the 1950s USA, and cocktail parties gained momentum. At that point, a bar became a prized addition to the home kitchen. Even a small bar cart will suffice if you are strapped for space. Add a few choice crystal pieces, and you’re set to make a big impression on the dinner guests! This is also a great way to show off vintage glasses or interesting glass pieces.

Add a Breakfast Nook

Mid-century houses typically included a small dining section within the kitchen. This can be easily recreated in any kitchen by adding a corner table and a few chairs. As always, the furniture must have rounded edges and an organic-looking shape. However, this may be difficult to achieve in a tiny kitchen. Opt for an open-plan kitchen and merge the kitchen and dining rooms if you’re considering remodelling.

The mid-century look is all about functionality and comfort. It emphasises the use of clean, softly-rounded edges, natural and easy-to-clean materials, and long-lasting gadgets. The look is characterised by exposed beams, open floor plans, and bold, linear patterns. This design aesthetic has evolved into a full-blown trend and can be seen in all sorts of kitchens, from modern to traditional.

The essence of this style lies in being hopeful for the future and allowing new technology into the home but making it fun and easy to use. It is about finding the balance in simple forms and bright colours. A mid-century modern kitchen is not just charming; it works. A great place to start envisioning your new kitchen is HomeLane.

HomeLane has options to personalise any space in your home in just 45 days, and their modular kitchen designs embrace the cheerful functionality of the ‘50s.

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